Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
GW Law Library
Research Guides

District of Columbia (D.C.) Law

A guide to researching D.C. Law

Note: Historical Research

This page discusses current sources.
Historical D.C. legislative history research is discussed in the "Historical Research" section of this guide.

Bills

A Council member, independent agencies or the Mayor may introduce a piece of legislation (i.e, "bill"). 

"Permanent" legislation is the most common legislation and is the focus of this discussion.

At the time a bill is introduced, it is assigned to a committee with expertise over the subject matter the bill addresses.

A committee is not obligated to review or consider a bill.  If the committee chooses not to review a bill during the 2-year Council Period, the bill "dies" and must be re-introduced when a new Council convenes.

When a bill is introduced, it receives a filing number.  

Example:

B23-0018,  Ghost Guns Prohibition Amendment Act of 2019

B = Bill
23 = D.C. Council Period
0018 = Sequential number assigned to the bill
 

Hearings

Hearings are required for permanent legislation before the legislation is voted on by the Council of the District of Columbia.

If the committee chooses to review a bill, then it will normally conduct a hearing.  The committee will receive testimony in support of or against the bill.

Committee Meetings (Mark-up)

Committee meeting mark-ups apply only to permanent legislation.

First Readings

The first reading of a piece of legislation applies only to permanent and temporary legislation.

Legislation is referred to Committee of the Whole and voted on. 

Mayoral Action

After being passed by the D.C. Council and signed by the Mayor, an enrolled bill is assigned an Act number.  The Act number appears on the first page of the legislation.  The text of the Act is printed in the D.C. Register.

Example:

A15-0311,  Distracted Driving Safety Act of 2004

A = Act
15 = D.C. Council Period
0311 = Sequential number assigned to the Act

U.S. Congressional Approval

Related Guides